Amid the political crisis in Maharashtra, Union Minister and Republican Party of India President Ramdas Athawale on Saturday met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at his residence in Mumbai.
Several Maharashtra BJP leaders were present at the meeting.
"I spoke with Devendra Fadnavis. He said that we do not have anything to do with the internal conflict in Shiv Sena. Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde will themselves resolve the dispute between them, we do not have anything to do with that. We are waiting and watching," Athawale told reporters after the meeting.
"We have not thought about forming the government. We will see what happens in time to come. So many MLAs have left MVA - 37 from Shiv Sena and 7-8 Independents, how can Sharad Pawar, Ajit Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray and Sanjay Raut say that they will show the majority?" he added.
The Shiv Sena rebel MLAs of Eknath Shinde faction on Saturday named their group as 'Shiv Sena Balasaheb'.
Former Minister of State for Home and rebel MLA Deepak Kesarkar told ANI that Eknath Shinde-led MLAs formed a new group 'Shiv Sena Balasaheb'.
The decision comes at a time when Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was holding the executive meeting of Shiv Sena. The Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government continues to be in a combative mode with 38 of its rebel MLAs are camping in Guwahati.
As the cloud over the MVA government intensifies, Maharashtra Congress held a meeting on Saturday over the situation.
"Today in the meeting, we had a discussion about the current situation. Our people are working on the situation. MVA government is working and will continue to work. Our government is not in minority. Our party's legal team from Delhi also helping us," said Maharashtra Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat.
Congress leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan who was also present in the meeting said the Shinde-led group cannot be authorised without legal authorization from Assenbly Speaker.
"Until it gets legal authorization from the Speaker, such type of groups will not be authorised," he said.
There have been reports of Shiv Sainiks allegedly ransacking the offices of rebel legislators. Shiv Sena workers protested against rebel MLAs of the party and burnt effigies outside the party office in Kharghar.
Shiv Sena workers ransacked the office of rebel party MLA Tanaji Sawant in Pune on Saturday. Sawant is one of the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs of the Eknath Shinde faction and is currently camping in Guwahati, Assam.
"Our party workers vandalised Tanaji Sawant's office. All traitors and rebel MLAs who have troubled our chief Uddhav Thackeray will face this type of action. Their office will also be attacked. No one will be spared," said Sanjay More, Shiv Sena Pune city head.
Following this, Pune Police issued an alert and directed all police stations to ensure security at offices related to Shiv Sena leaders in the city.
Mumbai Police also issued a high alert and directed all police stations to ensure security at all political offices in the city. It has been directed that officer-level Police personnel shall visit every political office to ensure their safety.
On the issue of violence, Ashok Chavan said, "MVA does not support violence. There is anger amongst loyal Shiv Sainiks who have expressed their anger with their local MLAs who have shifted their loyalties. It is not a law and order situation. It is quite normal."
Meanwhile, rebel Shiv Sena leader and state cabinet minister Eknath Shinde on Saturday wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over the alleged 'malicious' withdrawal of security of family members of the 38 MLAs camping with him in a Guwahati hotel.
In his letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and State Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil, Shinde claimed that the security provided to the MLAs at their residence as well as to their family members as per the protocol has been illegally and unlawfully withdrawn, as an act of revenge.
However, Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil refuted Shinde's claim of withdrawal of security.
"Neither the Chief Minister nor the Home Department has ordered the withdrawal of security of any MLA. The allegations being levelled through Twitter are false and completely baseless.No MLA's security has been withdrawn. Keeping in view the prevailing situation, the Home Department has decided to provide security at the residence of MLAs to keep their families safe," said Patil.
Shinde along with 38 party MLAs and nine independent MLAs are campaigning at Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati in BJP-ruled Assam from June 22.
Notably, Eknath Shinde faction, earlier on Friday, gave notice of a no-confidence motion against Deputy Speaker Narhari Jhirwal, after the Uddhav Thackeray faction submitted a plea before the deputy speaker to disqualify the rebel MLAs.